The new Congress

March 9, 2015 — This week on For Your Benefit, hosts Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan welcome Ken Gold to the studio. Ken is the director of the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University.

Republicans now have the majority in both chambers. What does it mean? What is going on with the debt and deficits? What are the prospects for federal spending in the departments and agencies? Our show today focuses on these and more.

Among the topics Ken discusses is Congress’s mood regarding federal employment and benefits. He foresees another year in which the two chambers of Congress will have difficulties agreeing on spending legislation to send to the president, possibly precipitating another government shutdown in the fall.

Ken notes that the sequester is still in effect, so — unless Congress sets it aside, as it has in the past two fiscal years — that will also significantly limit its options in determining federal spending.

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What this means, says Gold, is that discretionary spending — which accounts for most of federal government operations — is likely continue to decrease as a percentage of the total federal budget.

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